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Eutectic silver solder – any tricks to its use?

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Author Topic: Eutectic silver solder – any tricks to its use?  (Read 392 times)
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« on: August 15, 2014, 02:31:07 pm »

Okay, so it took me a little while to understand this whole topic.  I’m starting to do some enameling work and have learned that having any zinc in the presence of enamels will create bubbles or discoloration in the enamels.  Most normal silver solders have zinc in them which to some extent boils off when the solder flows. 

So, I weighed out some pure silver and copper last night (high quality balance) and prepared my own eutectic silver solder.  I made it with the lowest melting point possible, which is about 78% silver with the balance copper.  I also made some with about 85% silver (higher melting point, but still not as high as sterling, 93.5% silver).  I melted the metals together on a piece of charcoal soldering block (seemed to mix well just through the melting process), then flattened it, rolled it out in my rolling mill and then cut the foil into small pieces.  My question is…are there any tricks to soldering with this stuff as opposed to more standard forms of silver solder which contain zinc?  Will it flow as effectively?  I assume it will be more likely to show a slightly different color since it is has lower silver content?  I will be using it mostly with Argentium silver, and in most cases the parts that I’m soldering might not be all that visible in the final piece. 
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2014, 06:30:28 pm »

Good questions, I used it some many years ago in fabricating some copper pieces for a gal that did enameling but since she enameled over it things seemed to work out fine for her but she was using "fine" silver and not an alloy so you may need to research how it will work with Argentium, a different critter than "fine" silver you know. I have been reducing the size of my studio and all of my books are packed so I can't get to them right now, the internet is probably more up to date than any of my books any way. There are dedicated enameling forums that will get you a quicker answer most likely.
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2014, 11:20:55 am »

Argentium silver fuses really nicely so you may not even need solder.
also Argentium silver  Melt Temperature is 60º F  lower than standard sterling silver.
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2014, 08:32:22 am »

I might be a bit late to the conversation, but my experience of enamelling solder (bought, but not home made) it that you can enamel over it no problem and in terms of colour and tarnishing, it seems to be a bit more like sterling in colour than say easy or medium solder.  You do need to get it even hotter than hard of course, so care needs be taken about accidentally melting thin parts, but it flows well, pretty much about the same as hard, I'd say, which means a zillion times better than easy solder.
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